NC General Assembly

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Gov. Pat McCrory released a video Friday stating, he will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session.  In it he says he doesn't see the need to bring legislators back after a long and at time contentious short session. 

“It would be counter- productive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on," McCrory said in the video release.  "And after a lengthy session, they need a break and frankly, I need a break from them.”

Harold Brubaker
Wikipedia

The most influential lobbyist in North Carolina is former state House speaker Harold Brubaker, according to a report from the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Brubaker, a Republican who represented Randolph County for 18 terms, counts Alliance for Access to Dental Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and 21st Century Oncology among his current clients.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

Governor Pat McCrory says he plans to sign a bill to manage North Carolina’s coal ash ponds. But he may also challenge a key part of it.

The governor played a role this summer when members of the House and Senate were crafting the  plan. He made suggestions of his own on what to do with Duke Energy's 100 million tons of coal ash.

The bill is now on his desk. Over the weekend, on the talk show NC Spin, his support for it was cautious.

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

The North Carolina General Assembly is sending Governor Pat McCrory a plan for Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. It could become the first legislation in the country to try to mitigate the pollution from ashes left over from burning coal.

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

Top Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly say they’ve agreed on a plan to manage Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. The plan for Duke Energy's 33 ponds has been roughly six months in the making, but just weeks ago negotiations broke down between the senators and representatives who were writing it.

  

Gerry Cohen is probably the most important North Carolina politician you don't know.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A few members of the North Carolina House of Representatives will be back in Raleigh for a skeleton session today, but no real business is expected to be conducted. Technically, they need to be there to keep the legislature in session. That’s because they couldn’t agree with their colleagues in the Senate on one of their main priorities this summer – what to do about 33 coal ash dumps around the state.

This story starts in February this year, and you might have seen it on national newscasts.

Photo: The North Carolina seal in front of the state legislative building
Jorge Valencia

Gov. Pat McCrory has before him an annual spending plan for North Carolina, setting aside money to give public school teachers their first significant pay raise since 2008 - while cutting from public health, childhood development and other programs. McCrory has said he will sign the bill, and lawmakers said they have at least two other major pieces of legislation they will address this year. 

Photo: The Daily Show
Comedy Central

As North Carolina lawmakers are wrapping their “short” legislative session, which dragged on more than a month longer than they’d originally anticipated, they struck a deal on a plan to raise public school teacher pay. They also agreed to replace the state’s expiring credits for movie and television companies with a more modest grant package.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

  After an extra month of negotiations, state lawmakers have agreed on a budget for the next fiscal year. 

The $21 billion proposal makes compromises between House and Senate leaders on teacher pay and Medicaid spending. But other issues outside of the budget remain. Lawmakers still have to consider a Medicaid reform bill, local sales taxes changes and environmental protection regulations.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones about the General Assembly’s short session.

Photo: A tobacco warehouse in Durham
Flickr

While General Assembly leaders are in the final stages of sending Gov. Pat McCrory a state budget, they're rushing to wrap up bills on taxes and economic development.

Republican and Democratic representatives grilled Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker on Wednesday, asking why the governor wants to create  a $20 million "closing fund" to bring business to North Carolina.

Photo: A sylo at a farm in Swannaona, NC
Flickr

North Carolina House and Senate leaders say they've finalized details for public school teacher pay raises and the state's budget, but lawmakers are rushing to tackle other issues ranging from sales taxes to farm pollution.

The Senate has already given its approval for the North Carolina Farm Act, and the House is giving it a closer look in its agriculture committee yesterday and its finance committee today.

photo of NC Legislature
creative commons

    

Senate and House leaders have announced the framework of their $21 billion dollar state budget deal. One of the biggest sticking points was over teacher pay; the compromise offers public school teachers an average seven percent raise. Senate leader Phil Berger touted the plan at a press conference earlier today.

"The $282 million dollars invested in teacher pay with this budget will be the largest teacher pay increase in state history, moving North Carolina from 46th in the nation to 32nd in the nation in national teacher pay rankings," Berger said.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Leaders of the state House and Senate have agreed on a framework for a budget for the fiscal year that has already started. They're expected to spell out the details this week.

Late Saturday afternoon, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger both tweeted that their chambers had agreed upon a budget framework. They said they'd release more details this week.

The spending plan is expected to include teacher raises of about 7 percent and save teacher assistants' jobs.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says he will consider vetoing a budget bill if he doesn't like what House and Senate budget negotiators come up with. The governor gave a brief interview just outside the Old Capitol earlier this afternoon.

Leaders in both houses still don't agree on some final key issues, which include how big teacher raises should be and how many teacher assistants to keep in classrooms. Governor McCrory said he met with the House caucus earlier today to spell out his priorities.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively approved a bill that would overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid system. The measure would create an independent agency to oversee the state's health care system for low-income residents. The bill would also contract out Medicaid to managed care and provider-led organizations. They would receive a set amount of money per patient to provide care. Republican Senator Ralph Hise is a sponsor of the bill. He says it's necessary to help control ballooning Medicaid costs.

Photo: A cash register
Luz Bratcher via Flickr

North Carolina's sales tax would be capped at 7.25 percent in most of the state under a plan tentatively approved by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

The proposal would make it easier for most counties to raise sales taxes to the limit. It would also pull back the ability some counties currently have to implement raises above that limit.

The purpose is to even out sales taxes and create fairness between populous and not-so populous areas, bill supporters say.  

Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), says many people in rural places don't spend their money there.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Senate lawmakers considered a number of items today, while many House lawmakers took the time to pay homage to the late Republican Representative Jim Fulghum.

There's still no official word on whether budget writers might be close to an agreement on a spending plan for this fiscal year. So in the meantime, lawmakers are publicly pursuing other measures.

In the morning, a Senate Rules Committee approved a bill that would restore Fayetteville's red-light cameras, but the committee shelved another that would have allowed license-plate scanners on highways.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

The state House and Senate are entering their fifth week of negotiations over the state’s $21 billion budget. The Senate is scheduled on Monday night to take on at least one other major piece of legislation and two bills intended to beef up policing in North Carolina.

Medicaid Overhaul

The point of this legislative session is for the General Assembly to make adjustments to the state’s budget. But talks are moving so slowly, that Senate leaders last week said they might as well take up an overhaul of the Medicaid system.

Jim Fulghum
NC General Assembly

Wake County state representative Jim Fulghum who was undergoing treatment for cancer has died.  House Speaker Thom Tillis confirmed Fulghum's passing in a statement on the speaker's website.  

Kay Hagan 7.18.14
Katelyn Ferral

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was in Raleigh Friday afternoon to discuss a bill she and others have introduced in the U.S. Senate that seeks to restore womens' access to employer-covered contraception. The bill was defeated this week but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he plans to bring it up later this year.

When Hagan was asked what she thinks of the North Carolina General Assembly's late efforts to put together a budget for this fiscal year, she was quick to bring up her own record as a former state senator:

Photo: A four-way highway intersection at sunset
Flickr user Tom

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a bill that would allow police to use photo cameras on state roads to track license plates.

The idea is that the cameras would take pictures of license plates, and police could use them to, for example, find a fugitive. Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) says that could have helped Guilford County investigators on a recent case.

"Had this technology been available, at a right of way, it would've been possible to track down the individual who had committed the crime," Robinson says.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Lawmakers in the North Carolina Senate have proposed a plan that sheds more light on how they’d like to manage the state's Medicaid program. But it differs significantly from plans put forward by the House and by Governor Pat McCrory. The Senate’s proposal would allow hospital and doctor-led health plans to see Medicaid patients as well as managed care plans run by insurance companies.

Lars Elmo via Flickr

A North Carolina Senate committee wants to require moped owners to register their mopeds and buy insurance.

In North Carolina, mopeds owners can travel on roads without registering their vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicle, owning insurance or having a valid driver's license.

Some members of the General Assembly have been trying for years to change that. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), told the senate finance committee on Tuesday morning that there's no financial liability for a moped driver if he crashes into a car.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in the state Senate have offered an eight percent pay raise for teachers as they inch closer to putting together a budget.

Senate leaders unveiled their offer to House budget negotiators late Tuesday afternoon. Senators had previously wanted to give educators raises of 11 percent, but House leaders said such a large increase would require cutting too many other areas.

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